Fox News reported that they had “vanished without a trace.”
Their pictures appeared with the headline “Gone Girls” on the cover of the New York Daily News, which also published a jailhouse interview with a relative.
Even People magazine featured a pair of stories about Iona and Emily Costello of Greenport in the “True Crime” section of its website this past week.
Then, early Monday morning, five days after a missing persons report was filed with the Southold Town Police Department, the mother and daughter were reported to have been found in good health inside a New York City hotel room, where they had escaped for a getaway three weeks earlier.
“I don’t know much as to the reason why they left other than it appears that they just wanted time away in NYC,” Southold Police Chief Martin Flatley wrote in an email Monday.
Friends and family worried about the duo — who had headed into the city March 30 to take in a couple of shows — and police were notified that they still hadn’t returned two weeks later. Ms. Costello’s mother, Diana Malcolmson, of Shelter Island, told The Suffolk Times last Thursday that concern grew when Emily, 14, did not show up for school after spring break ended last Tuesday.
A police report was filed last Wednesday and a car belonging to Ms. Costello, 51, was located in a parking garage on 42nd Street later that day. An NYPD spokesperson confirmed to The Suffolk Times Monday evening that the Costellos had been staying 35 blocks away at the NYLO hotel on Broadway at 77th Street on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
Throughout the investigation, which Southold detectives conducted with the assistance of the New York City Police Department, authorities said they had few leads but no reason to suspect foul play.
The Daily News reported that the Costellos had been seen on the parking garage security cameras carrying luggage and appearing happy upon their arrival.
Chief Flatley said he could not offer specifics about how the Costellos were located because the NYPD handled that portion of the investigation, but the Daily News reported that police acted on a tip from someone who recognized the mother and daughter from media reports and spotted them at their hotel.
“I know she was spotted,” Chief Flatley said of Ms. Costello. “I believe that they were not ‘hiding’ in the hotel and were in and out of same.”
Ms. Costello — the widow of former Costello Marine co-owner George Costello — could not be reached for comment at her house Monday. The Daily News reported that she has been engaged in litigation with her late husband’s five other children over his will.
Chief Flatley said about a half-dozen missing person reports are filed with the town police department each year. Investigation into one such report about a Greenport man, filed around the first of the year, has still not yielded any positive results, he said.
With Joseph Pinciaro